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Eric Sommer

by Brett Lemke
July 2007

Keeping up the frenetic pace of touring can wear down many a band, but for those who thrive on music to stay alive, it can be addictive. Eric Sommer is a one-man guitar-slinger from Washington, D.C., who plays constantly up-and-down the coast and has been venturing to the Midwest frequently in the last half-decade. His spirit burns as bright as a million-candlepower spotlight, and his street-level philosophy captivates the listener’s yearning ear. In preparation for his 15-date Midwest tour in July, he spoke with Maximum Ink about his journey, his songwriting, and his alchemical on-stage ethos. 

MAXIMUM INK: Tell me about how you became a traveling troubadour.
ERIC SOMMER: I toured for 15 years with a lot of big bands in the ‘80s and ‘90s. It all came to a head in Providence, RI, at a show opening for the Dead Kennedys. I was with The Atomics, which was the house band at Cantone’s. Everyone played with us; Mission of Burma, Gang Of Four, Dinosaur Jr., and one night it all fell apart, all over women. It was a true rock story, just ugly. The next morning, everyone’s girlfriend ended up at everyone else’s house. I quit, took everything I had, sold it, and tried to keep busy for the next ten years. It was very unsatisfying. It was easy to make money, but hard to make a difference. I was a cog in the wheel, in the machine. About five years ago, the Bayfront Blues Festival put me on to close out their acoustic stage. I did really well, there were standing ovations and I couldn’t get off the stage. It was really wonderful. On the drive out from some gigs in Virginia, I took notes and made it my regular route. Five years later I do 275 shows a year. I’m going to Texas in September and I’m in the studio right now with Ken Eddinger from Blondie. He’s producing five or six songs and getting me some radio interest.


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Def Leppard

Def Leppard

an interview with drummer Rick Allen
by Sarah H. Grant
July 2007

Of all the places you imagine rock stars go, the dog groomer is probably not one of them. Not so for Def Leppard’s thunder man Rick Allen, who woke up at seven o’clock to take his little cairn terrier, Ricky, to get his hair coiffed and paws manicured.

Then again, Rick Allen is no ordinary rock star. Joining the Leppards as a nineteen-year-old pup himself, Allen rode the effervescent wave of Britain’s heavy-metal renaissance on the brink of the eighties. With their trademark trickling vocals and opulent guitar riffs, the multiplatinum, Union-jack clad lads from Sheffield are one of the biggest-selling bands in the world. But their success did not come at a low price. On New Year’s Eve, 1984, Rick Allen walked away from a lethal auto accident with only one arm—a death knell for the career of a drummer. Two years later, Allen miraculously took the stage again, this time playing on a specially customized electronic drum kit which compensates for his handicap.

The resilient Rick Allen spoke to Maximum Ink, in his ever-cheery English accent, before Def Leppard churns the wheels of their unusually long three-year tour towards Summerfest 2007.


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Static-X on the cover of Maximum Ink August 2007

Static-X

by Sarah H. Grant
August 2007

An interview with Static-X‘s Wayne Static covering their new album, Ozzfest and the departure of Tripp Eisen


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Blaq Audio

Blaqk Audio

by Kimberly E. McDaniel
September 2007

Sometime around the year 2000, AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget started to discuss the possibility of making their mutual love of electronic music reality in the form of a side project called BLAQK AUDIO.  Though AFI’s success kept both of them so busy that talking was all they could do, seven months ago, the duo managed to steal away some precious time and record CexCells.  The album has done well, far exceeding the expectations of both Puget and Havok and the single, “Stiff Kittens”, placed as high as number 20 on the rock charts.

Fans of AFI’s hard, rock and roll sound were taken aback by the dynamic dance music that filled the speakers after purchasing CexCells, but it seems that most have since accepted the side project and all it has to offer.  The name BLAQK AUDIO was the brainchild of Puget, who thought the name suited their desire to make dark, electronic music.  He claims that the unusual spelling was a simple twist on the obvious, as well as being a nod to the Aphex Twins song “Drukqs”.

Although the tour officially ended September 27th, with a final show in Los Angeles, Puget and Havok plan to continue to make music as BLAQK AUDIO in between their commitment to AFI.  Now that the two are, hopefully, resting before picking back up with AFI, Puget was able to sit down for a chat about the tour, the sexual content of CexCells and his plans for the future.

Maximum Ink:  Are there any questions that you are tired of answering?
Jade Puget:  I guess the obligatory meaning behind CexCells, all the usual stuff.  I actually don’t mind answering that stuff either, if there’s something you really want to know.  A lot of people aren’t that familiar with Blaqk Audio as a side project.  If you want to cover some basic information, that’s fine.


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Umphrey's McGee on the cover of Maximum Ink September 2007

Umphrey’s McGee

by Mike Huberty
September 2007

When first hearing the voice of Joel Cummins, the keyboard player from Chicago jam-band Umphrey’s McGee, one might expect a stoned-out, hippie wasteoid, not the articulate, self-deprecating and passionate music theory graduate that helped found the group in the mid-‘90s at Notre Dame University. But the man’s musicianship is no joke.

Teetering on the edge of the mainstream with their third album, “Safety in Numbers,” the band released a double album of tracks from the “Safety” recording sessions called “The Bottom Half” last April, performed on Lollapalooza, and started opening for the Dave Matthews Band on his latest tour (to which Cummins half-jokes, “One of the goals was to play more tunes for the ladies.”)


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Milwaukee's The Cocksmiths on the cover of Maximum Ink October 2007

The Cocksmiths

by Sarah H. Grant
October 2007

An interview with The Cocksmiths, a band featuring Milwaukee veterans Ryan Daniels, Matty Gonzalez, Joey Carini, Paris Ortiz and Dave Schoepke.


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